Horns and Wrinkles
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Horns and Wrinkles

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  835 ratings  ·  192 reviews
How can you tell if a river’s under a spell? River trolls, rock trolls, blue-wing fairies—the usual suspects—the stretch of the Mississippi where Claire lives has rumors of them all, not that she’s ever spotted any. But then Claire’s cousin Duke takes a swim and sprouts a horn—a long, pointy, handsome thing. After that, Claire doesn’t have much choice but to believe that s...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 11th 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,476)
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Jen
Jun 11, 2008 Jen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
I had such high hopes for this book: great art, fantastical characters, and a whimsically bizarre plot. (side note: wouldn't "whimsically bizarre" be a great band name?) In fact, I can't quite put my finger on what went wrong; I just found the story boring. I struggled about halfway through before moving on to more interesting material. I suppose the main character just didn't "hook" me; this came across as more of a read-aloud-to-your-kids-at-bedtime story, with little emotional depth or charac...more
Becky
We listened to this in the car on audio. I told my husband I think it's like a 10-year-old boy vomited out whatever thoughts were in his mind. It's pretty much a chronological journey tale, but there seems to be very little linkage between the episodes and basically NO overall symbolic meaning or anything to give the story even the slightest depth. Even the attempts at humor fall flat.
Jill
Sep 26, 2008 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I can't recommend this book
Recommended to Jill by: I saw it on Amazon.com. It has a cute cover.
I'm giving this book one star for the beginning, one for Claire, the only character I cared about, and one for not being predictable.

I was really hooked in, with this book, at first. Claire's cousin, Duke is hanging her over the side of a bridge, by her ankles, and then he drops her. Instead of getting hurt, or making a big splash, she gently floats down. Claire lands in the rowboat of a kind, old lady. Duke is dropped over the side of the bridge by two, bigger bullies. When he is fished out of...more
Dawn
Oct 07, 2009 Dawn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dawn by: Wendy
My sister Wendy recommended this book to me quite a while ago. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it! Actually, I listened to it. We took the book on CD with us on a family trip. I really enjoyed the humor in this book and the way it is a uniquely American fantasy story. There are no castles, princesses, dragons, or other classic European fantasy elements. Instead, Helgerson gives us an inventive, "rivery" tale starring common folk and set on the Mississippi River. The fantasy elements...more
Tara
Those that live on the bank of the Mississippi river have a word for the weird things that happen that there (like being turned to stone, growing a horn, or going missing) - and that's rivery. When something rivery happens, adults gets quiet and children are shuffled out of the room. But when something rivery happens to Duke, Claire's slightly younger cousin, Claire is needed to track him down and try to bring him home.

Of course, this is all complicated by river trolls, rock trolls, a missing tu...more
Marlon
This book was a childrens classic. Overall this was a good book but i didnt enjoy it very much. Its the kind of book that when you get bored you might pick it up and look at it to keep yourself busy. For young kids who cant read at a very advanced level its also pretty good. The author made a fantasy using american elements. It wasnt about castles, knights, princesses, and other stuff that happened in a land far away. This is about kids and trolls along a american river. The author did a great j...more
Linnae
Claire knows how to handle bullies, even the ones who are related. So when her mean cousin Duke dangles her off the Wagon Wheel Bridge and threatens to drop her, she still doesn't give him what he wants. What she doesn't know is that the river trolls also know how to handle bullies, and soon Duke is sprouting a pointy horn where his nose used to be. Before long, all kinds of rivery things are happening: Duke's parents, Claire's grandpa, and the deputy sheriff, are all turned to stone; Duke's run...more
Leanne
Horns & Wrinkles
by Joseph Helgerson
Published in 2006

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Novel

Plot Summary: "Along a magic-saturated stretch of the Mississippi River near Blue Wing, Minnesota, twelve-year-old Claire and her bullying cousin Duke are drawn into an adventure involving Bodacious Deepthink the Great Rock Troll, a helpful fairy, and a group of trolls searching for their fathers." - Baker & Taylor

Considerations for Readers Advisory: Magic

Review Citation: Helgerson, Joseph, and Nicoletta, il C...more
Amy Nielsen (is going cerebral for 2014)
I tried to read this to my 7 yr old daughter but after I started getting confused, I knew for sure that she was. This story was weird with a capital weird. Lots of things badly explained, if ever and I never really got a sense of who the characters were. The whole plot of it was rather thrown at you in a few brief and unhelpful paragraphs that created more questions than did answer. I did enjoy The Great Rock Troll though. She was illuminated well. On the whole a clean book for kids, if not a tr...more
Gabs
This review (and others) can be found on My Full Bookshelf

This book was definitely more quirky than funny, and not the good kind of quirky, either. It was the kind that makes you scratch your head and wonder what the heck you just read. Yes, the story is inventive; I will give the book that much. But it's still pretty bizarre, and I just could not bring myself to care for the characters in the slightest bit.

First, there is Claire. Claire's an overall 'meh' kind of character. I didn't not like h...more
Shawn Carroll
This is one of those slightly odd books to categorize. You can call it a girl’s adventure story, a Mississippi River yarn, a modern fantasy for tweens, a moral story about actions (and meanness) and consequences, and in each case it would be true. In fact that is its strength. I read it out loud for bedtime over several weeks, and neither my 4 year old son nor his almost 11 year old sister ever complained that it was boring. Believe me, if it had been, they’d have told me.

Instead they were spell...more
Luann
In which we learn that shooting stars smell "a little like a grilled cheese sandwich that's been burned . . . only sweeter." Quirky "rivery" fun with river trolls, rock trolls, rhinos, a blue-wing fairy, and some very funny lying crickets. I really wanted to like this book, but for some reason it just never caught me up and pulled me in. It had some fun moments, but overall it was just okay. Although the lying crickets did make me laugh several times!
Kellee
Normally I enjoy books like this that are clean young reads and I love to discuss them with my nieces and nephews, but I had a hard time getting into this one. The little girl is a cute character but Duke is too obnoxious for me. The Old Lady could have been a great character, but I didn't feel like she got al the way there. Anyway I wont recommend it to even my nieces and nephews.
Laura
Whimsical and cute, though not very engaging. I found myself struggling to stay focused through some parts of the book, part due to the slow moving plot and part due to a yawning writing style.

The overall idea, the river troll characters, and the conclusion are very cute though. It's not a book you'll want to read more than once, though.
Lynn
Quirky, orignal and utterly enchanting! I adored the rivery magic, Nettie's wonderful voice and the truly unique premise. Who can resist bullies being turned into rhinoceroses? I listened to this on audio and found myself taking the long way to prolong the pleasure of the book.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This was a strange story revolving around a folklore of magic and magical creatures surrounding the Mississippi River. Makes me want to search my American folklore books to see if the author based it on real folk beliefs or if he made the whole thing up. Entertaining.
Stacy Nyikos
Helgerson can spin a yarn a mile long, loop it back around and turn it into Technicolor. His style of writing reminds me of Garrison Keeler – imagination cubed with an American-folkart style. That said, the main character, Claire, (who also tells the story) goes through no real eye-opening, personal changes. Her cousin, Duke, does. Duke acts and Claire reacts. Still, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the timelessness of the piece. No cell phones, text messaging, TVs, radios, or other such pa...more
Litland.com
Jul 11, 2011 Litland.com rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: juvenile, advanced & reluctant readers, boys, girls, families
This is an excellent treatment of modern folklore, which we recommend for ages 10-14 but certainly fascinating for younger advanced readers or older, reluctant readers too. http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/h...

It brings forth visions of when those who lived along and worked the lakes and rivers in past centuries spoke of its magical properties, and of forests full of trolls and fairies. Helgerson successfully invokes feelings of nostalgia amongst his readers similar to reading a Mark Twain s...more
Marie
Fun fun fun fun fun! I can't say enough how much I loved this children's book.
Lots of things going for this one, first each chapter is only about 3 to 4 pages long, for a child being able to say, I've read 10 chapters today!, is absolutely great. And even if it's technically cheating, that's fine as long as they are excited about it and it leads them to try and do the same for the next book they read.
Second the story is amazingly funny, with river magic, trolls, and fairies all gathered togeth...more
Kami
Overall, this book was not the best. I don't think the story was strong and even interesting. The book needed more imagery. What I liked was that this book has a lot of great themes that I think that everyone should really follow.
This book had many themes. I think one message the author was trying to convey was that you should be kind to others and not be a bully. Bad things can happen to you for being a bully. In this book, Duke was always doing selfish things and was bullying people. He was so...more
Gypsi
This fun, witty and well-written fantasy tells of Claire, who lives near a magical stretch of the Mississippi River between Minnesota and Wisconsin and of the adventure, or should I say trouble, she gets into because of her bully of a cousin, Duke.

The book opens with Duke hanging her by the ankles off a bridge over the Mississippi: "The river I was hanging over was the Mississippi, which was flooding, all muddy and solid-looking as a freight train, about twenty feet below my ponytail. It was ear...more
Brennen
The stoy starts out wit this boy named Duke who is holding a girl named Claire upside over the Mississippi river ,it so happens the boy and the girl are cusions. Duke was older and a vary big bully and had and a vary unicspected change sence he was was a bully.A older lady came along in a row boat down the mississippi river and ask about the littile girl Duke was dangaling off the edge of the bridge,Duke seid it waas a wort hog. then he seid bombs away jokingly but then the old lady egged him on...more
Lucy
Claire’s cousin Duke is a bully. He’s nasty and mean, and he’s never happier than when he’s bullying. Until one day, Duke bullies Claire near the river, and falls in—and when he comes out again, he’s grown a horn where his nose used to be.

There is no question that something rivery is going on. And when Duke’s parents get turned to stone, Claire is pretty sure that river trolls are involved. But she doesn’t have to guess anymore after Duke, horn and all, shows up outside her window and tells her...more
Bookwormnicole
I got this book from my school library and I can honestly say- at first, I didn't get hooked enough to read everyday, and I love to read. But the 2nd time I took the book out from the library, I started reading about 30 pages every single day. I couldn't even put it down when it was time to shower! I do think you should know each chapter is about 3 pages long, the shortest I saw was 1 page. Also that the writing is quite interesting to people who love to read but the way it's written may be too...more
Kelly
Apr 24, 2014 Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Is this a kids book? It reads like a children's book. The cover was appealing to children as my 5-year-old kept inquiring about it. And my son would probably enjoy the story if it had more pictures. But my library had it shelved in regular fiction (I bought it used at a library book sale).
Cute story. A little odd. I loved the setting since I'm familiar with the area.
Michelle
Mar 24, 2008 Michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All ages.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book including Nicoletta Ceccoli's beautiful illustrations throughout. The adventure begins when "rivery" magic gives Claire's bullying cousin Duke a horn instead of a nose. Similar to Pinochio's nose, whenever he bullies someone, his horn grows as he slowly transforms into a rhinocerous. Only an act of true kindness will return him to himself, but Duke is too mean and selfish to care. He runs away and gets involved with some mischievous trolls who turn his family into...more
NaomiRuth
This world felt real. Like I could walk over there and step inside this world. The ending was a little bit weak, and it took a little bit to get into the story, but once there: it was magical. Not in a big over-the-top kind of way. It was a quiet, normal kind of magic. It made me want to write books.
nicole
Dec 21, 2007 nicole rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 7up
Pretty damn good, but not quite great. Needed more exposition. It just jumped into things too quickly, and when you're dealing with fantasy (and hey, even when you're dealing with Minnesota... I mean, I'm not from Minnesota. Tell me more, man. Take me there.), I think you really need to ground it well.

Basic synopsis: Bullies turn into rhinos. A horn is their scarlet letter, but a good deed, an act of true kindness can turn one back into a human. Simple enough lesson, and it's dealt with nicely (...more
Kat Heckenbach
I picked up this book having never heard of it. I couldn't pass up the title, and the adorable picture on the front. It really does capture the essence of the book. A little dark, a little humorous.

I though just about everything was well done. The characterization was awesome, a great MG voice through the whole thing. Just the right amount of humor and in just the right spots. The whole story world is nothing like anything I've read before. A magic river in an everyday American town, complete wi...more
Lauren
I am currently reading Horns and Wrinkles. This book is interesting so far it's about a girl named Claire and her cousin Duke. Duke is kind of a bully so one day he hangs Claire over the bridge over the Mississippi river. Then these bully come along and drop Duke over the bridge. supprisingly he starts to grow an nose like a rinoseres and things start to happen. The first thing that starts to happen is Dukes mom, dad, and the head police, and his grandpa are all turned to stone. That night while...more
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